Welcome to SCC's Center for Teaching and Learning blog where the points don't matter...but the learning does. We're so glad you stopped by to check us out. Do you want to focus on the things that help students learn, and make your teaching efforts really count? If so, you're in the right place. This blog strives to present some different practices than the old standards. You may not embrace all of the ideas presented here, but we hope they make you think. Please comment on anything that interests you, and further the conversation for us all.

Connecting Through Video

In today's digital era, online learning has taken center stage and the importance of creating appealing content for your courses cannot be overstated. Video, in particular, has emerged as the "gold standard" for online course content due to its multi-sensory nature, allowing students to both see and hear the material, making it more captivating and memorable. If you're hesitant about recording video content for your online course, fear not! You don't need expensive equipment or extensive on-camera experience to produce high-quality videos. In fact, you can do it all from the comfort of your home and even enjoy the process. By following these four steps, you'll be on your way to creating professional-looking videos that your online students will love. Step #1: Gather Your Gear When it comes to your video recording setup, having the right equipment can make a significant difference. You don't need a professional studio or pricey gear to create effective onli

Pull Back the Curtain

  Higher education often assumes that our students can figure out how the skills they learn in one context transfer to a different one. This assumption is faulty, and it’s not because our students aren’t smart enough, it’s because they aren’t content matter experts and learning experts. The same is true for us in unfamiliar areas. It isn’t clear to students that the same skill an English essay builds–written communication–will help them learn to write a clear and concise lab report in biology, or a business proposal in their future job. Think back to algebra, were you a wiz, or did you struggle trying to figure out the relevance of learning those equations? Did you know that learning algebra could help you do your job as a purchasing agent, forest ranger, or a financial advisor? Probably not. If you did, you may have paid more attention to learning algebra. One way to help students understand the relevance of an assignment is to add specific language to assignment instructions showing

Retaining Students

The Completion By Design Loss/Momentum Framework helps colleges take a systems-level view and  identify where students stumble, become sidetracked, and drop out of college. One core idea of this framework is that the points where students struggle to proceed are shared by many students and are discoverable. These points are called loss points . SCC decided to apply the Loss/Momentum Framework at the course level and coach faculty in their own discovery process. This course-level view examines places in a specific course where students stop participating or drop (loss points) and places where they deeply engage (momentum points). The perfect scenario is to flip a loss point to a momentum point through interventions like better scaffolding, clearer feedback, communication about expectations, personal conversation with students, and more. We know some loss points are generic across courses--we tend to lose students at the 3-6 week time frame in a standard semester long course, or immedi

Promoting Struggle

Struggle is a critical component of the learning process, according to a wealth of research in the field of educational psychology. Studies have shown that students who experience cognitive struggle during learning tasks, such as solving complex problems or grappling with challenging concepts, tend to retain information better and develop more robust mental models of the material (VanLehn, Siler, Murray, Yamauchi, & Baggett, 2003). Struggling also helps students build resilience and develop a growth mindset, which can lead to improved academic and workplace performance (Dweck, 2006). Overcoming obstacles, allows us to gain a sense of accomplishment and confidence in our abilities. Our current generation of students need that confidence. “Zoomers” or “iGen” (born approximately 1995- 2012, currently 13-27 years old) are dominated by safety concerns and intimidated by risk taking. These are not students who like to “take a shot” at something and struggle. They don’t mind hard work, bu

The Elephant in the Classroom: ChatGPT

It's here, so let’s just talk about it. Are you reading robot essays? When you ask students to paraphrase, are they secretly laughing? Maybe, but maybe not completely…yet. Change is happening fast though. The elephant in the room is ChatGPT and its peers. ChatGPT was released for public use as a prototype on November 30, 2022. It is a large language model trained artificial intelligence (AI). It is the newest, flashiest, text-generating AI around, but there are many other AI text-generating tools out there that have been here for a while. ChatGPT finally grabbed the attention these tools deserve. ChatGPT is going to get better fast with the improvements gained through opening up use of this tool to the world. Articles and podcasts are now popping up daily about AI writing tools, and people are worried about the next generation’s ability to write. But hold on, let’s learn a little more about these tools before we go there. According to Nick Duncan on “An AI writer is

The Jigsaw

If you’ve ever done a jigsaw puzzle, you know they can ensnare you trying to get one more piece before you stop. Jigsaw puzzles are engaging. James Davis discusses five teaching strategies designed to challenge and engage students in the article Innovative Teaching Strategies that Improve Student Engagement. I knew most of them, but the last one caught my attention because I like jigsaw puzzles. Below is an excerpt from the article that describes the jigsaw technique. The jigsaw technique is a “tried and true” cooperative learning strategy that helps students create their own learning. Students are arranged in groups and assigned a different piece of information. In their groups, students learn the piece of information well enough to be able to teach it to another group of students. When using this technique, students become experts on the learning as they teach their peers. Once all groups have learned their information, they are placed into new groups with members from each of the sm

Innovative Pedagogies: #4 Citizen Inquiry

This Innovative Pedagogies series is based on the article Innovative Pedagogies of the Future: An Evidence-based Selection that offers “a set of innovative, evidence-based pedagogical approaches that have the potential to guide teaching practitioners and transform learning processes and outcomes.” The past few years have seen rapid adoption in educational technology, and this series offers ideas for changes in the practice of teaching and learning to accompany those technology advancements. Citizen inquiry is the last innovative pedagogy in this series. Citizen inquiry refers to active participation by the public (students in our case) in scientific research. Most often citizens (students) are in the role of volunteer to further a line of research through data collection and analysis tasks such as observation and measurement. In higher education this is most closely related to the practice of undergraduate research. The significant difference being that citizen inquiry asks the stud